Tan Cheng Bock disappointed forum on elected presidency cancelled; organisers say response was poor

Dr Tan Cheng Bock expressed his disappointment that a forum on the elected presidency was cancelled.
Dr Tan Cheng Bock expressed his disappointment that a forum on the elected presidency was cancelled. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Former MP and presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock expressed his disappointment in a Facebook post at the cancellation of a public forum on the elected presidency, which he said he signed up to attend.

Dr Tan, who ran for the presidency in 2011, said in the post on Thursday (Sept 29) that he registered last week for the forum.

It was scheduled to be held on Thursday, but he learnt on Wednesday that the forum was being cancelled due to poor response.

The forum organiser, Reach, confirmed the cancellation in a post on its own Facebook page on Thursday. It said the notice of cancellation was made a day earlier, and it apologised for any inconvenience caused.

It then added: "In response to queries, we confirm that we do not have any registration under the name of Dr Tan Cheng Bock for this dialogue."

This appeared to be a response to comments that some netizens left following Dr Tan's post, suggesting that the forum was cancelled because Reach, the Government's feedback unit, knew that he would be attending.

When contacted by The Straits Times on Thursday and told that Reach had no record of a "Tan Cheng Bock" registered for the forum , Dr Tan said he registered under the name Adrian Tan, which is part of his full name on his identity card.

Thursday's dialogue was to have been one of several on the elected presidency, since the release of a Constitutional Commission report in early September recommending changes. The report was followed by a White Paper in which the Government gave its response.

Dr Tan previously expressed an interest in contesting the next presidential election, but he may not be eligible under the new recommended criteria.

In his post, he said he was keen to attend the forum and hear from Law Minister K. Shanmugam, who was scheduled to speak.

"I registered my attendance last week and was happy to receive a confirmation for my attendance. I was planning to attend with a few friends and family," he said.

"Unfortunately yesterday, I was disappointed to receive a message, that the forum was cancelled due to poor response."

He added: "This forum would have been a great platform for Singaporeans to seek clarification on the matter. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage Singaporeans to register for these forums and actively participate in discussions on this and other important national issues."